Narcotics task force investigates Golden Hill explosion - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Narcotics task force investigates Golden Hill explosion

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - First an explosion, then a big fire sends two people to the hospital and their next stop could be jail.

The Narcotics Task Force is now investigating the incident. Authorities believe the fire was sparked when the pair tried to extract THC from marijuana plants.

This process is becoming very popular in San Diego. It involves an ingredient called ear wax, honey oil or hash oil. It starts as marijuana, which ranges from about seven to 25 percent THC, which is the ingredient that makes user high. But when you extract hash oil from marijuana plants, the purity skyrockets to 75 even 85 percent.

The process, however, comes with risks which is why fire fighters were called to a Golden Hill housing complex Sunday afternoon.

"I was sitting on my couch and heard a big boom and saw flames, heard my neighbor yelling I need help," said neighbor, Mike Vanetten.

Authorities say that explosion neighbors heard was due to butane, which is used to extract hash oil from marijuana plants.

"You have all those butane fumes in a small room and the butane sinks to the ground and it's heavier than air and sinks. So all those fumes build up and if you have something as simple as static electricity, any kind of open flame, a candle, cigarette, that'll set off an explosion," said DEA spokesperson, Amy Roderick.

Neighbors say the man who lives in the home suffered major injuries.

"Burnt face, burnt arms, burnt legs and was in shock. Next thing I knew fire fighters showed up," said neighbor Matthew Zavala.

The damage was contained to the kitchen area and is estimated at $30,000.

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